Sask. farmer sues Monsanto for $10 million
A legal battle between biotech giant Monsanto and a Saskatchewan farmer is heating up.
Monsanto has launched court action against Percy Schmeiser to protect one of its patented seeds.
Now Schmeiser, who farms in southern Saskatchewan, is fighting back. On Wednesday, he served Monsanto with his own lawsuit for more than $10 million.
Schmeiser's troubles with Monsanto started a couple of years ago, after the company says it found fields of Round Up Ready Canola growing on his farm outside Bruno.
That's Monsanto's genetically altered seed, which allows farmers to spray their crops with the herbicide Round Up; the weeds are killed but the canola plants survive.
Monsanto -- which has a patent on what's inside the seed -- alleges that Schmeiser grew the seed without its permission.
Earlier this week, Schmeiser and Monsanto sat down with a court mediator in Saskatoon to try to avoid a lawsuit.
That effort failed.
Monsanto decided to go ahead with its suit. Then Schmeiser decided to countersue, saying Monsanto is trying to take away the fundamental rights of farmers.
"My lawsuit and the amount of it will send a message to Monsanto that it can't continue to keep doing to farmers what they are doing, such as taking away their plant breeders' rights and going on to their fields," he told CBC News.
In his lawsuit, Schmeiser says he's entitled to damages because of what he calls the arrogant, high-handed and shocking conduct of Monsanto. So far, no date has been set for Schmeiser's suit.
Officials for Monsanto aren't talking.